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Comic Book / Annihilation

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Counter-clockwise starting from the top: Galactus, Drax the Destroyer, the Silver Surfer, Ronan the Accuser, Annihilus, Nova, and Moondragon.

"Verbal log. Nova Corps Operative: 11249-44396 / Richard Rider... I...I was there...the last day of Nova Corps... I was there... I'm still here... God help me, I'm still here."
Richard Rider, Annihilation Day Plus 7

In 2006, Marvel Comics had their big Crisis Crossover Civil War (2006). But this conflict was confined only to Earth and the Marvel Universe contained many, many characters that were space-based. So they had a simultaneous Crisis Crossover just for them: Annihilation.

At the maximum security prison the Kyln, in the area of space known as "the Crunch", a massive armada called the Annihilation Wave destroys nearly everything. Nothing can stand in the Annihilation Wave's path, especially as it destroys one of the first obstacles: the Nova Corps, where Richard Rider, Earth's Nova, is the only survivor. Elsewhere, the Silver Surfer senses an infestation; Kl'rt the Super-Skrull hears rumors of a strange superweapon; Ronan the Accuser becomes the accused; and Thanos has a conversation with Death, who tells him "something wonderful" is going to happen. And as the Annihilation Wave bears down on the universe, at its head is Annihilus who shouts "Annihilus is the will and the way and he will not be denied!"

Annihilation was spread out over a number of mini-series:

  • Drax the Destroyer: Earth Fall 1-4 (actually a prelude)
  • Annihilation Prologue
  • Annihilation: Nova 1-4
  • Annihilation: Silver Surfer 1-4
  • Annihilation: Super-Skrull 1-4
  • Annihilation: Ronan 1-4
  • Annihilation 1-6

In addition, there was an Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus spin-off tying up some loose ends. The fourth volume of Nova spun out of this event.

A few months later there was a sequel: Annihilation: Conquest, which followed the same format as its predecessor, save for the fourth mini-series being replaced by the then-current Nova series. A few months after the Annihilation War has ended, and the universe is beginning to rebuild. Unfortunately, new villains take advantage of the fragmented chaos, and take over the Kree Galaxy, shunting it out of space entirely, leaving only a few heroes capable of fighting them inside.

The fallout of these events would form part of Marvel's subsequent Space Opera crossovers, the War of Kings in 2009, and The Thanos Imperative in 2010, as well as starting off the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy. It would also gain much later sequels in 2019's Annihilation: Scourge and 2021's The Last Annihilation.

Not to be confused with the 2004 War of the Spider Queen novel, or the 2014 first novel in The Southern Reach Trilogy (or its 2018 film adaptation).

Annihilation provides examples of:

  • All Your Powers Combined: The Phalanx managed to get their hands on a Super-Adaptoid, which among its abilities are those of the early seventies Avengers, and the original Captain Marvel.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Rich orders an orbital bombardment on his position, and the narration mentions the med-techs growing him a new leg afterward.
  • Anti-Villain: Super-Skrull, who maims, tortures, and kills in his way to stop the Harvester of Sorrow.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Set up by Annihilus' goons, the Silver Surfer is rescued by Firelord and Red Shift.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The universe is saved, but billions are dead, the Nova Corps is destroyed, the Skrulls are on the verge of extinction...and after Annihilus's death, they still have to cede territories to Ravenous and the leftover Annihilation Wave just so the fighting will stop, and Surfer has been largely stripped of his morals by Galactus. And Annihilus isn't quite dead, with the Phalanx deciding to take advantage of this.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: In Super-Skrull's miniseries, the protagonist is a jerkass who isn't above using violence and torture to get what he wants, but is up against the Annihilation Wave, an army bent on destroying all life across the cosmos.
  • Blatant Lies: On several occasions after introducing himself, Drax is met with some variation of "You mean, the Destroyer?", but his response is always a simple "No."
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The Silver Surfer manages to kill Aegis and Tenebrous, but at the very near cost of killing himself, until Galactus revives him.
  • Broken Record: Gabriel the Air-Walker, as he begins to die, starts repeating his last words over and over.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Three House Fiyero loyalists insult Ronan and try to demand his arrest at gunpoint. While Ronan still has his Universal Weapon to hand. He promptly disintegrates them.
  • Call-Back: When the Worldmind tries to talk Richard Rider into taking the entire Nova Force, Richard angrily brings up the case of Garthan Saal, who did just that and quickly went insane, back in Nova's old series.
  • Captain's Log: Richard Rider keeps a Nova Corps log.
  • Catchphrase: The Worldmind has "It is critical you pay attention at this time." It usually says this when Richard Rider does something dangerous or stupid. It says this a lot.
  • Civvie Spandex: By the last mini-series, Richard Rider has gone from a normal costume to wearing a jacket over it.
  • The Chosen One:
    • Mantis, the Celestial Madonna. It's apparently the reason the Kree imprisoned her.
    • Peter Quill, formerly the Star-Lord. At one point he even mentions he never bothered checking what that meant.
  • Clear My Name: Ronan's goal during the war is to get back his job and life, first by finding the Rigellian Tana Nile and learning who bribed her into testifying against him. Then the Annihilation Wave kills her, forcing a change in plans.
  • C-List Fodder: The Nova Corps are wiped out in the first week of the war.
  • Les Collaborateurs: House Fiyero eventually begin working with the Annihilation Wave. Ronan deals with them.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Kl'rt the Super-Skrull has all the powers of the Fantastic Four, although he uses them with lethal efficiency, like stretching his arm so thin that it becomes like razor-wire and then cutting enemies in half with it.
  • Conflict Killer:
    • Annihilus managed to get most of the Negative Zone under his rule by claiming the regular universe was destroying it (with the backup plan of beating the crap out of anyone who didn't fall into line).
    • Peter Quill thinks this would happen if the Wave reaches Earth, whose mightiest heroes are having their own little problem. Richard Rider, normally the more idealistic of the two, thinks they'd probably still be bickering even as the Wave burns their world out from under them.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Nova tries to take on Annihilus single-handed. He gets his ass handed to him.
    • Ronan versus Ravenous, who only a few months before (in-universe) survived fights with the Silver Surfer. Ronan takes a good chunk of Ravenous's face off.
  • Custom Uniform: Richard Rider's Nova outfit is altered to a new design in order to regulate the full power of the Nova Force.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Peter Quill, due to an unpleasant incident involving a former herald of Galactus and a colony full of innocents. As Kree captain Chan-Dar notes, these sorts of pasts have a tendency to catch up to people.
  • Dating Catwoman: Nova, the last of the Nova Corps, and Gamora, the Deadliest Woman in the Universe.
  • Doomsday Device: Annihilus wants to turn Galactus into a universe-destroying bomb.
  • Drop the Hammer: Ronan has hammer which can restructure molecules, but he usually just uses it to hit people really hard.
  • Dual Wield: Drax happens to carry two big-ass knives on his person, and most of his plans consist of stabbing his opponent with them repeatedly.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • The Silver Surfer has a habit of doing this when pissed, though in at least one instance the planet was confirmed uninhabited.
    • The Harvester of Sorrows eats planets after making them blow up.
    • Terrax does this in Heralds when the inhabitants annoy him by asking for help.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Blastaar, usually an antagonist to the Nova Corps and the Fantastic Four, supplies Nova, Peter Quill and Phyla-Vell with teleportation tubes that will allow them to get them close to Annihilus.
    • Ronan and Super-Skrull are usually villains but help Nova and the others defeat the Annihilation Wave. In fact, Ronan and Super-Skrull being on the same side counts as well; Kree and Skrulls hate each other.
  • Evil Is Petty: The reason the Annihilation Wave attacked Xandar was to get the Air-Walker's attention.
  • Eye Scream: Phalanx infection is signposted by wiring coming out of and covering the infectee's eyes.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Kree don't like humans, because they think we're "monkeys". Apparently Peter Quill hit on his aide Ten-Cor repeatedly while drunk, only for her to turn him down because of this.
    • As Rocket Racoon later points out, the Kree think everyone else is a lower life-form.
  • Female Gaze: Cammi takes a moment to note that Richard's outfit is very tight.
  • Freudian Slip: During a particularly heated argument, Nova calls the Worldmind "Dad".
  • From Bad to Worse: From day one. First the Nova Corps is wiped out. Then Quasar gets killed, allowing Annihilus to take his quantum bands, becoming even more powerful. Then the Wave ploughs through the Skrull Empire. The United Front manages to hold them off for a while, and then the Wave manages to capture Galactus, and turn him into a weapon. After that, the United Front just gives up, forcing Nova, Phyla-Vell and Quill to try and take on Annihilus alone. And just when the heroes finally "killed" Annihilus and started bringing stability to the universe, Ultron and the Phalanx come a-knockin'.
  • The Gadfly: The Super-Skrull loves making pithy comments at Ronan's expense every few seconds.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Annihilus' forces are hunting down the heralds of Galactus. They irreparably damage the Air-Walker when they learn he's just a robot.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe:
  • Annihilus is first seen with two green-skined insect babes as his Paid Harem in his throne room.
  • The Kree officers Ten-Cor and Ko-Rel are blue skinned space babes.
  • Hive Mind: Pretty much all of the Annihilation Wave is controlled through Annihilus and his Queens. Which is good, since killing him or the Queens will pretty much leave the wave without direction. The lack of individuality means none of them will risk their lives for one another.
  • Hulk Speak: Drax starts out speaking in meaningless sentences that reflect his debilitated mental state. Then he dies and comes back to life smarter.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: According to her Nova Corps file, Cammi became a talented pilot due to her years of playing video games.
  • Implacable Man: The Annihilation Wave barely slows Drax or Ronan down. In Drax's case, he was on a planet being devoured by a weaponized Galactus, and he still somehow survived.
  • Knight Templar: Ronan the Accuser. Although he generally kills bad people, he really doesn't care about the consequences or what happens afterwards.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • Stardust, when the Annihilation Wave destroys her race. And then again when she hands the survivors over to Galactus.
    • Tenebrous and Aegis are the last of their kind, the rest having died long ago.
  • Mercy Kill: Ronan euthanizes the Supreme Intelligence, once he finds what House Fiyero have done to it.
  • The Mole: R'kin turns on Kl'rt just as he was about to destroy the Harvester of Sorrow.
  • Neutral No Longer: The Silver Surfer was content to stay out of the war, seeing it as not his problem. Then Annihilus went after all of Galactus' heralds, eventually drawing the Surfer into the fight.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Drax finally manages to accomplish his goal in life, and kills Thanos... just as he was about to free Galactus, the one being capable of saving the universe from the Annihilation Wave.
  • Noodle Incident: The exact reason Gamora ended up on Gothab Omega isn't clear, but Korath mentions she'd been spurned by the cosmic forces.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Ravenous claims he and the Silver Surfer are servants to a higher power, when really Ravenous is just a murderous thug working for an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Thanos and Annihilus acknowledge they have several things in common.
  • Oh, Crap!: The heroes are horrified when they learn Annihilus has captured Galactus. Since one of the most powerful beings in existence has fallen, they have little to no hope of defeating the villain.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Annihilus wants to destroy both the regular universe and the Negative Zone just so he can be the last living thing standing. Even the Mad Titan Thanos tries to stop him after finding this out.
  • Planet Eater: The Harvester of Sorrow is a gigantic bioweapon that destroys planets and transforms the remains into rations that feed the Annihilation Wave. After Super-Skrull blows it up, Annihilus and Thanos capture and enslave Galactus to use as a replacement.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: After several panels of House Fiyero desperately trying to save their sorry butts, Ronan just declares "Know that House Fiyero stands accused". The next shot is him walking calmly out of the room, alone.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: A lot of the final battles in Annihilation end with one large battle cry. Special mentions go to Ronan's "GUILTY!", Galactus "HERALD MY RAGE!" and Nova's defiant "THIS IS FOR THE NOVA CORPS!" as he finally kills Annihilus, ending the war.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. Super-Skrull sacrifices himself to destroy the Harvester of Sorrow, and the epilogue shows his efforts have been rewarded, as later generations of the Skrulls come to hail him as one of the Empire's greatest heroes. However, he is brought back to life shortly afterwards.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Gabriel the Air-Walker is a ridiculously Xandarian robot, but since the average Xandarian looks pretty human, he still qualifies. It's also a plot point. The Wave forces had no idea he was a robot, and are infuriated when they find out, since they intended to study his biology in order to harvest the herald's cosmic power.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Richard tries to eradicate the Annihilation Wave immediately after getting the Nova Force, winding up with his blacking out and crashing. He quickly admits that it was a stupid move.
  • Rousing Speech: Just before infiltrating the Babel Spire, Quill gives one of these to his team... only to be met with blank looks, before muttering "thought not" and moving on.
  • Sanity Slippage: Subverted. Richard Rider is unwilling to take the entire Nova Force because the last person who did so went mad. Ultimately, he doesn't have a choice, but even though he does have a momentary burst of rage, complete with Slasher Smile, his mental faculties are preserved for the rest fo the series.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In the beginning of the universe, Galactus imprisoned Tenebrous of the Darkness Between and Aegis Lady of All Sorrows in the Kyln. The Annihilation Wave set them free.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Richard Richard was the last survivor of the Nova Corps. He spent four days alternating between not doing anything and passing out, until the Worldmind summoned him, and even then he's still in a nasty state of shock.
  • Shout-Out: During the Silver Surfer's mini-series, Annihilus's throne-room looks familiar...
  • Someone Else's Problem:
    • The Silver Surfer is amazingly unconcerned about the war, up until it gets personal.
    • Drax doesn't care that Annihilus is about to blow up the entire universe. He only joins the fight because he figures the conflict will bring him closer to Thanos, whom he obsessively intends to kill.
    • The war doesn't matter to Ronan. He just sees it as a temporary setback to his true objective, which is clearing his name, and after that becomes a moot point, finishing House Fiyero.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: There's a massive army tearing its way through the Andromeda Galaxy, followed by the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. Skrulls and Kree start dying in the millions and entire planets are destroyed, but the Shi'ar choose not to get involved, since the Wave goes right around them (and the Shi'ar are having their own internal dispute).
  • That Man Is Dead: Peter Quill is very insistent that "Star-Lord" is dead.
  • Time Skip: Annihilation tie-ins end at different points in time ('Annihilation: Nova' ends 11 days after Xandar's destruction, 'Annihilation: Ronan' 99 days, for example). Nova, Ronan, Silver Surfer and Super-Skrull never meet each other during their respective tie-ins. The main series starts several months later, with some of those characters already having organized a unified resistance.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Richard Rider takes several, going from perennial C-lister to one of the most powerful superheroes Marvel has.
  • Villainous Rescue: Galactus plays a vital role in bringing down the Annihilation Wave.
  • War Arc: The series is about an intergalactic war between the Annihilator and Marvel's cosmic superheroes.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Praxagora is actually in love with Kl'rt the Super-Skrull, who is a colossal jerk to her. Though, he does show some sorrow when Ultron takes control of and self-destructs her, saying that she deserved a better death.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Graces just disappear after Annihilation. Which is definitely not a good thing, given most of them are criminals and murderers.
    • Cammi disappears along with Skreet. Cammi would eventually reappear years later, but Skreet is nowhere to be seen.
  • The Worf Effect: Nebula and Stellaris, both of whom are major-grade cosmic threats (Nebula blew up the home planet of the Nova Corps some decades ago), fall pretty quickly to Ronan.